Workplace Best way to learn basic design skills and gain a designer eye for aesthetics?

in2style

Member
Mar 18, 2007
29
6
I'm not looking for this to lead to qualifications as I have no intention to being employed by others as a designer.

I would like to be a self -employed designer. I'm interested in homewares, stationary, handbags and small fashion items. I'm also interested in interior design and decorating but no interest in going into that field. I'm a very visual person and creative but don't have any fine art skills.

I have purchased a few books on the basis of graphic design to help with packaging and branding. Other than visiting museums / art galleries and looking at art and fashion books. Is there anything else I can do? Should I learn drawing and painting for example?
 

leechiyong

Member
Sep 3, 2013
10,505
14,273
As someone with no design background, the way I became familiar with it is interacting with those who do. I had zero design knowledge before meeting my DH (who has a design background) and making friends with people in fields focused on design (web design and architecture). When they commented about a design, good or bad, I'd ask why, especially if I had the opposite reaction. Angles, materials, spacing, kerning, balance, etc. It made me notice more and more things I'd never noticed before.

Realistically, though, the best way is to take classes to learn all of the fundamentals. Most of the professionals out there had inherent talent and studied the core concepts to further their technique. There's so much more that goes into a proper logo than a nice color palette and pretty font and the use of round rooms doesn't make an architect FLW.
 

in2style

Member
Mar 18, 2007
29
6
Thank you lee. I do know some web designers and DH has offered to teach me art skills.
 
Aug 17, 2016
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That's good advice! I would definitely get hands-on. I studied design and art…didn't go into it, but it definitely influenced the way I see fashion and such.

Ways to get hands-on: start creating and get feedback and constructive criticism. Make sure you figure out WHY your critics do or don't like something…is it the color combinations? The silhouettes? When you have feedback, follow it and make changes. Then question - were the changes effective or ineffective? Why?

When you visit museums, question everything you see in the same way. If you can, bring along someone to discuss with you and give you a different perspective. Why do you think something is or is not effective? What do you hate or like about it? Is there a certain aspect that's out of balance? In general, art is about achieving the right balance of things, whatever those things may be.

This is why learning drawing or painting may be helpful. They help you to think about colors, depth perception, shapes, etc. However, if you manage to find a way to think about them through your own art or through going to museums, I would say learning them wouldn't be completely necessary if your craft doesn't involve drawing/painting.

Good luck and most of all, enjoy!
 

in2style

Member
Mar 18, 2007
29
6
Thank you Bell for all your advice. Both you and Lee have given me enough to start pushing forward. :smile:
 

mellecyn

O.G.
Feb 28, 2006
7,149
2,103
Enroll for some classes! workshops, evening classes and such....it will develop your technical skills as well as your critical sense.
I´m a designer with degrees in fine arts and industrial design.
Also with aesthetics I find people have it in them or don´t. The ones who don´t compensate with knowledge (eg . colors theory and such) and I know designers who aren´t good at aesthetics but doesn´t really matter when they are great creatives able to come up with fantastic new ideas/concepts and user experiences.
The easiest here is really to get the technical skills...so go to classes! graphics specifically, and fine arts for use of mixed mediums.
 
Aug 14, 2006
2,700
1,498
Canada
There are some classes that don't give any credit towards a degree, certification, etc. but they can be really fun and interesting. I would suggest signing up for some of those!
 

Happy Luppy

Need my coffee!
O.G.
May 28, 2009
771
62
I would suggest looking at Behance more. They have amazing collections of other people's portfolio. If you like a style, try to copy it by recreating it, by this way, you are able to discern out how to make it.
 

Jesssh

Member
Jan 20, 2012
6,493
205
You have to do the work, not just learn about it. Figure out what you want to create and create it. It took me about four big projects before I was comfortable offering my services to someone else. That was AFTER I got a degree in design. The first project was redone from scratch four times, IIRC. Even then, I paid someone to give me feedback on designs for clients. I got tons of inspiration from looking at other people's work, but attempts to create something with a similar look and similar quality took a lot of work to refine and they never looked as good. It's harder than it looks, IMO. You have to get outside yourself and start looking at your work like others do.

Some people have a natural ability, some have to work at it. I was told one out of 25 students has natural ability. I wasn't one of them. I had to work at it and eventually became successful.

Each type of skill is like starting over again. However it takes less time to get good at it because you have a better eye than before.

Practice, practice, practice. On real-life projects. But start by learning basic design concepts like proportion, color, repetition, focal points, balance, line, shape, form, pattern, etc. Specific learning depends on what you want to do. See what others in your area of interest are doing.

If you want a reality check, see if any local design colleges have portfolio reviews that are open to the public. Each student shows the work they created in school. You'll see which ones shine. They sometimes have employers waiting in line to talk with them. Check their curriculums to see what they are learning in their courses.
 
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juneping

couch potato-ing
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Jun 11, 2007
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I'm not looking for this to lead to qualifications as I have no intention to being employed by others as a designer.

I would like to be a self -employed designer. I'm interested in homewares, stationary, handbags and small fashion items. I'm also interested in interior design and decorating but no interest in going into that field. I'm a very visual person and creative but don't have any fine art skills.

I have purchased a few books on the basis of graphic design to help with packaging and branding. Other than visiting museums / art galleries and looking at art and fashion books. Is there anything else I can do? Should I learn drawing and painting for example?
i am an architect and trained as one as well. so i have an old school way of thinking. and i am old...lol.
Personally, there's no way to get into design without actually working on a project. to know how to work on a project, you need some basic training. to me the most basic skill is to sketch, to get your idea across, the design across, you need an image.
i also have to admit, all good designers are talented that they have the intuitions about proportion, materials juxtaposition and color (not so much with architects actually).
but having someone believe in you and willing to invest in you helps a lot. I've seen that and the person (not trained as a designer/architect) made quite a good living.